A move to the countryside or a coastal village was the stuff of dreams for many city dwellers – or maybe a long-term retirement plan. However, the Covid-19 lockdown has shown that working from home is not only possible but also convenient, and for some, there’s no longer a need to live in the city to be close to the office.

“The towns of the Cape Whale Coast, from Rooiels to Hermanus (all between 60 and 90 minutes from central Cape Town), offer an ideal opportunity if you are now working from home, no longer need to travel to work every day, or are considering a change in lifestyle for you and your family,” says Annien Borg, Pam Golding Properties regional head of the Boland and Overberg.

Savills’ recent Residential Sentiment Survey of several international countries shows that 86% of respondents expect to continue working from home post Covid-19. Similar trends are likely in South Africa, says Borg, where rising fuel costs have already made lengthy commutes unappealing.

Buyers’ needs have also changed since the pandemic, notes Savills. Green space in its various forms was marked as a priority for most, while 61% of respondents said there would be an increased demand for homes in outlying areas. An American study shows that 39% of urban Americans are considering moving out of the city, with significant migrations to the smaller towns outside New York and San Francisco already evident.

Borg says the Cape Whale Coast would be ideal for a similar migration in South Africa. “Quality of life has become increasingly important to local homeowners, as so many contemplate working from home, and the Whale Coast offers the coastal lifestyle, and array of amenities, that would make this choice more appealing,” she says.

Rooiels, Pringle Bay, Betty’s Bay and Kleinmond have morphed from holiday and weekend destinations into popular places to live permanently, says Nicola Lloyd, Pam Golding Properties area principal for these areas. Entry level properties are available from R300 000 (for a vacant stand) and from R900 000 for starter homes, increasing in price to between R5 million and R11 million for seafront properties. It’s possible to buy a two-bedroom, two-bathroom home with a garage on at least 600m2 of land for between R1.2 million and R1.8 million. Larger three- or four-bedroom homes on 1 000m2 or more of land are available for between R2.5 million and R4 million.

Hermanus and Onrus are easily accessed from Cape Town on the N2 freeway and offer quality educational, medical, sporting and retail facilities. Spectacular mountains, sea, whales and wine routes are signature features of these areas. A wider range of properties is available, with one-bedroom apartments available for less than R1 million, and luxury seafront properties for R15 million.

Borg says security estates offer plenty of recreational areas for families to enjoy within walking distance of their front doors. Sea Farm Private Nature Reserve outside Pringle Bay, Arabella Country Estate, Benguela Cove Lagoon Wine Estate, Hemel-en-Aarde Estate and Fernkloof Golf Estate offer higher-end options, while the sectional title estates in Onrus and Sandbaai are excellent value for money.

“No matter what stage of life you’re in, no matter what your property needs are, and no matter what environment you are looking for, consider the Whale Coast and come and see us,” says Borg. “It’s the ideal time to consider making one of these towns your home.”

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